When you realize that you want to change up your personal style, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Where do you start? Which pieces from your current wardrobe can be kept, and which new pieces should you acquire? How can you craft a new look for yourself that works for your taste AND lifestyle? Feeling a bit vulnerable, you may turn to the experts for advice: Makeover TV shows, magazine columnists, and, of course, style books. The folks who create these resources get paid to make others look great, so surely their pointers can help you. And some of them will.
Others may feel overly general, confining, even exclusionary: Many experts seem to believe that stylish women are required by law to wear boot cut jeans, pointy-toed shoes, and waist-cinching belts. Some behave as if anyone who shuns these rigid rules looks a complete mess and should be shamed into stylistic submission. Instead of making women over, these stylists are making women believe that they're just plain doing it wrong.
Keep reading below the slideshow.
If you love your graceful neck, try using a short necklace to draw the observing eye upward. <em>Cynthia of <a href="http://www.addicted2etsy.com/" target="_blank">Addicted 2 Etsy</a></em>
Adore your shoulders? Use cap sleeves to highlight them. <em>Gracey of <a href="http://fashionforgiants.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Fashion for Giants</a></em>
A plunging neckline is a fabulous way to show off a beautiful bust. <em>Weesha of <a href="http://www.iamweesha.com/" target="_blank">Weesha's World</a> </em>
Show the world those fabulous arms in a sleeveless or halter style top or dress. <em>Keri of <a href="http://www.headlinesandhemlines.com/" target="_blank">Headlines & Hemlines</a></em>
Belts and full skirts are both fantastic tools for highlighting the midsection. <em>Lisa of <a href="http://respecttheshoes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Respect the Shoes</a> </em>
High-contrast tops and bottoms will draw the eye to the spot where they meet, right at the waist. <em>Patty of <a href="http://pattythesnugbug.com/" target="_blank">The Snug Bug</a></em>
If you want to highlight your derrière, skinny jeans or pants worn with a butt-grazing shirt will do the trick. <em>Gracey of <a href="http://fashionforgiants.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Fashion for Giants</a></em>
The high hemlines on miniskirts and minidresses will show off gorgeous thighs. <em>Weesha of <a href="http://www.iamweesha.com/" target="_blank">Weesha's World</a></em>
Belting high or opting for garments with high waistlines will visually shorten a long torso. <em>Cynthia of <a href="http://www.addicted2etsy.com/" target="_blank">Addicted 2 Etsy</a></em>
And don't forget to have fun when you get dressed! <em>Lisa of <a href="http://respecttheshoes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Respect the Shoes</a></em>
But there is no one right way to look good. Style is a spectrum, not a fixed point, and each woman should be able to craft her own wardrobe based on what looks and feels best to her. Many style guides shame women about their bodies, cow them into believing they must disguise their natural forms, and attempt to force them into a single, rigid stylistic mold. But stylish dressing can be highly individual, friendly to all figures, and deliciously creative. When women are taught to dress expressively and personally, they link looking good in their clothing to feeling good about their bodies.
I wrote Already Pretty: Learning to Love Your Body by Learning to Dress It Well because I believe the time has come for a style guide that focuses on the personal instead of the general, a style guide that embraces physical and sartorial diversity. I called upon personal style bloggers to contribute outfit photos to this book because I wanted to show the world that women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, ages, and abilities can be creative, stylish, and utterly gorgeous in their own unique ways. I used these photos to illustrate how different dressing choices affect figures and proportions. In the following slideshow, you'll meet these wonderful women and learn a few techniques that they've used to highlight their favorite physical features.
Here's a list of all the blogger/contributors to this slideshow:
Fashion for Nerds
Addicted 2 Etsy
Une Femme de un Certain Age
The House in the Clouds
Fashion for Giants
Headlines & Hemlines
Barking Dog Shoes
Respect the Shoes
The Snug Bug
Follow Sally McGraw on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@SallyMcGraw